Published on : Monday, February 27, 2017
Chinese travellers are making a rush for South-east Asia, lured mostly by the cultural similarity and the wide variety of dining and leisure opportunities thereby boosting the regional tourism sector of this part of the world to a great extent.
Experts feel that the tourism figures would continue to grow faster if the area works together to draw more tourists.
In 2015, nearly 18.6 million tourists had come, making up for about 17% of the total number of tourists to Asean, as per the latest data that was published last month by the 10-country bloc.
They had accounted for 12.4% of the total tourist numbers in the year 2014.
China is the region’s biggest source market for tourists. It is followed by nations in Australia, South Korea and the European Union.
The industry watchers said that the increasing wealth in China is driving the growing number of people belonging to middle class. The Chinese travellers mainly come from key cities including Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing. Also, the number of tourists from cities including Chengdu, Nanjing that represent the ‘Tier-2 cities’ has been growing steadily.
In order to meet the ever increasing demand for the Asean-China flights, the budget airlines as well as the full-service carriers have started adding new destinations along with new services. For instance, Changi Airport is linked to 30 cities in China that is much more than any other airport in the region of South-east Asia.
About 1.75 million Chinese globetrotters have paid visit to Malaysia last year that is over triple the 530,000 10 years ago.
And, they had ended up spending about $1.8 billion. In fact, Chinese tourists lead the number of foreign tourists to Indonesia with over 1.4 million that visited last year. In the Philippines, nearly 630,000 travellers from China in the period between January and November were present last year. However, the two governments are planning to reach the million mark this year.
The favorite regional spot is Thailand that attracted about 8.76 million Chinese tourists last year.
Alicia Seah, the spokesman for one of the travel agencies think that the flexible network of road, air and rail access is a great contributor to the tourist growth in this region. Also, the future high-speed railway link that is scheduled to connect Kuala Lumpur and Singapore would also lead to increased visitor numbers.
Mr. Tony Fernandes, the group executive officer of AirAsia, the low-cost carrier giant told the media that lesser number of visa restrictions within the bloc would also lead to a boost in the travel and tourism sector of the Asean.